Every once in awhile it’s nice to see something that just makes you go ohhhh, and the asymmetrical ballerina chignons at Zang Toi provide that dose of pretty I crave each spring. The close collaboration between Zang Toi and stylist Eiji Yamane of Eiji Salon resulted in “new wave ballerina hair”—the perfect counterpoint to Zang Toi’s detailed designs.
“Usually ballet hair is very strict and pulled back. I wanted something more unexpected: asymmetrical romantic waves and a low chignon that was a bit oversized for more drama,” explains Zang. “I wanted a fresh interpretation of ballet hair.”
To sculpt each chignon, Yamane began by parting the hair down the center and misting it with water. “I work in a little René Furterer Vegetal Sculpting Gel while blow-drying hair using a Mason Pearson brush to give hair a smooth finish,” he says. Once the hair dries, he gathers it into a low ponytail (leaving the hair on the sides free), sprays it with René Furterer’s Vegetal Finishing Spray, and ties it off. Hiding the elastic requires no more than the classic wrapped ponytail trick and a few extra bobby pins. His simple trick for keeping the ponytail from going flat at the back of the head? “Using the end of a rattail comb like a pick, I lightly lift it through the hair.”
Yamane lent movement to the look by creating asymmetrical finger waves down the sides: “I take sections of the loose hair from each side of the middle part. One at a time, I spray the section with René Furterer Lissea Thermal Spray—this helps to protect hair against the heat from the curling iron. Using a medium-barrel curling iron, I roll the section toward the head.” To keep the waves from looking too perfect, he combed through the curl then crimped the hair with the iron to give it more bend. Once the waves were finished, he draped them over and behind the ears, shaping them in a “classic finger wave pattern” and securing them with clips (plus a generous dose of Vegetal spray to set the pattern).
The waves, lovely as they are, serve to offset the centerpiece of the look: the chignon. To get the smoothest finish possible, Yamane prepped the ponytail with Vegetal, a Mason Pearson, and a few passes with the flatiron. “I take the ponytail, make a big loop and roll it toward the base of the ponytail so that the finished chignon sits on the nape of the neck,” he says, “This results in a full, dramatic chignon. To maximize fullness, I lightly fan it out a little with my fingers or use the tail and teeth of a rattail comb to finesse the shape.”
After a final misting of Vegetal Spray, the waves are unclipped and sent down the runway. Et voila! Perfectly imperfect ballet buns. While the look isn’t exactly ideal for rushed mornings, it’s one I’d actually consider wearing out (to an extra-fancy event, good luck getting me to even comb my hair otherwise). At the very least, I’ll be trying my hand at those finger waves the next time I sport an updo.
What was your favorite hair moment at NYFW? Any thoughts on the updated ballerina bun? Can we please all take a moment to discuss the joys of Friday afternoons and the weekend that lies ahead?
All images by John M. Craig for René Furterer.